NCCAOM News - Spring 2018 (Plain Text Version)

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Safe Chinese Herbal Compounding and Dispensing Needs Assessment Survey Results

Safety and protecting the public is a concern for Chinese herbal medicine practitioners and the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession. To that end, the NCCAOM created the Safe Chinese Herbal Compounding and Dispensing Taskforce, consisting of a diverse group of herbal professionals, to study the potential of creating a certificate of qualification (COQ) program in safe compounding of Chinese herbs. The first step in determining if a certificate of qualification (COQ) program should be initiated was to conduct a needs assessment to determine the AOM profession’s overall support and interest for NCCAOM to create a program for the safe compounding and dispensing of Chinese herbal formulas by acupuncturists practicing Chinese herbal medicine.

The Safe Chinese Herbal Compounding and Dispensing Taskforce completed the needs assessment in December 2017.  Five hundred sixty-six (N=566) respondents participated in the survey.  Overall results were positive in supporting the development of the COQ herbal safety program. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of the participants strongly agreed/agreed that voluntary competency verification was needed for herbalists to safely compound and dispense Chinese herbs. The Taskforce members determined from the practitioners’ comments that those in favor felt safety in compounding and dispensing was necessary to protect the public. The majority felt that acupuncturists practicing Chinese herbal formulae compounding should meet FDA requirements before they are forced to. The respondents were in favor of the NCCAOM moving forward with creating a Chinese Herbal Compounding Safety COQ.

Fifteen percent (15%) of the responses were neutral and had no opinion either way. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of the practitioners replied they strongly disagreed/disagreed to additional training. Concerns centered around the current extensive training already received in school and most were confused that the certificate program would be a mandatory requirement. Practitioners expressed that FDA standards are meant for herbal manufacturing companies and are too strict for most solo practices to comply.

Based on the positive survey results and the NCCAOM’s concern for some practitioners’ negative responses and confusion, the NCCAOM is planning to host a webinar and publish some articles to educate and raise awareness about the need for a  Chinese Herbal Compounding Safety COQ. Work will also continue with subject matter experts to develop the educational program for this voluntary Chinese Herbal Compounding Safety COQ.  [return to top]